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The best and worst games of the week

6:00 PM on 11.16.2013 // Wesley Ruscher

Review Round-up: Week ending 11/16

The Playstation 4 dominated this weeks review schedule and rightfully so. Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, Resogun, and Contrast dominated our postings -- and as of last night my Facebook wall (please turn off your notifications friends) -- but they were not the only games worth talking about this week. 

Perhaps the biggest individual release of the week was Nintendo's latest in The Legend Zelda franchise, A Link Between Worlds. It was by far our most popular story of the week with tons of amazing comments. There was also the new Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus and the long awaited DLC to BioShock Infinite that brought us back to Rapture: Burial at Sea Episode One.

All in all it was a pretty exciting weeks for games. This year is quickly coming to an end, but we still have the Xbox One's looming release and one of the Destructoid's staff's most anticipated titles Super Mario 3D World right around the corner. 

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Released: November 12, 2013
MSRP: $14.99 (included in Season Pass)

Don't expect a whole lot of playtime without the second piece of the package, as Episode One's narrative will last you a solid hour or so, and you can tack on another hour or two (at maximum) if you want to explore everything. While I don't want to spoil it for you, Burial leaves off on a massive cliffhanger at the very end, which is pretty much the only point where it feels relevant.

I wasn't too impressed by Burial at Sea Episode One, mostly because it just doesn't add a whole lot to the overall franchise outside of the last 30 seconds, and it's simply not compelling enough. While it's quite possible that Episode Two will tie everything together in a neat bow and blow us all away, Irrational Games has yet to make a legitimate case for a return to Rapture.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Read the full BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One review

XCOM: Enemy Within (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: November 12, 2013

MSRP: $29.99 (PC download upgrade) / $39.99 (Console disc)

If you haven't played the newest XCOM yet, now is a perfect time to do so with the Enemy Within package. For all the XCOM veterans out there, you'll find a solid amount of new activities to engage in, as well as an unprecedented amount of squad customization. In other words, this is now the definitive Enemy experience.

Verdict: 9/10

Read the full XCOM: Enemy Within review

Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (PS3)
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: November 12, 2013
MSRP: $29.99 (Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty included for free)

Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus doesn't make great strides to change up the series, but fans won't be disappointed. Nexus is short, sweet, and to the point, with hardly a dull moment in sight, making it a fitting conclusion to the Future series. When you add in the fact that the game is budget priced and you get Quest for Booty for free, it only sweetens the deal.

Verdict: 8/10

Read the full Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus review

Football Manager 2014 (PC [reviewed], Linux, Mac)
Developer: Sports Interactive
Publisher: SEGA
Release: October 31, 2013
MSRP: $49.99 / £34.99 

...this year's edition is building on what was already established; it will please longtime fans and keep them engaged as Football Manager 14 gives them all the depth and options they would want. There could still be more done to ease new fans into the series but that will maybe have to wait until next year.

Verdict: 8/10

Read the full Football Manager 2014 review

Beer Pong! (PlayStation 3)
Developer:  JV Games
Publisher: JV Games
Released: October 22, 2013
MSRP: $4.99

There's just no reason to play this. Beer Pong! is a joyless shell a college drinking game. It revolves entirely around mechanics that do not function with any sense of accuracy or precision. Save your money and play the real thing. Or do anything else. Anything at all.

Verdict: 1/10

Read the full Beer Pong! review

Final Exam (PC, PSN, XBLA [Reviewed])
Developer: Mighty Rocket Studio

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Released: November 5, (PC, PSN); November 8, 2013 (XBLA)
MSRP: $9.99’s not the worst of games. It does an admirable job bringing some modern systems into an old school brawler and at a more than affordable price. It controls well and the visuals are mildly entertaining with all the gooey giblets that are constantly flying around. It’s just  a game you'll go through once and never go back to again.

Verdict: 5/10

Read the full Final Exam review

Resogun (PlayStation 4)
Developer: Housemarque
Publisher: SCE
Released: November 15, 2013
MSRP: $14.99 (Free for PlayStation Plus members)

Resogun is a satisfying arcade-style game with a next-gen look and feel -- the ideal system launch game. It’s an eye-searing blur of a loop that you’ll be happy to jump into again and again. Don’t miss it.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Read the full Resogun review

Knack (PS4)
Developer: Sony Japan Studio
Publisher: SCE
Released: November 15, 2013
MSRP: $59.99

Knack is still a fun romp, and definitely worth a play. It’s easy to pick up, a joy to look at, and and some of the boss battles are pretty great. My recommendation is that you take it in smaller doses, or try out the drop-in/drop-out cooperative play, which will definitely help when the going gets tough.

It’s not the next blockbuster platformer you'd want out of a launch title, but you need a break from shooters or want something with some personality, Knack is worth a look. 

Verdict: 7/10

Read the full Knack review

Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: November 15, 2013
MSRP: $59.99

 like Killzone: Shadow Fall for its change of direction from previous series games, as well as its change of pace over other first-person shooters. Guerrilla has tried a few new things this time around, and should be commended as such. I welcome the almost sandbox-ish level approach, and the stealth segments did a nice job of breaking up the standard shooting action. It’s really nice when gameplay concepts win out over big set pieces and cinematic events. 

Oh, and it’s beautiful. A stunner. Killzone: Shadow Fall is the game that will make you happy to own a PS4. This needs to be on your PS4 launch game list.

Verdicts: 9/10

Read the full Killzone: Shadow Fall review

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 3
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 22, 2013
MSRP: $39.99

A Link Between World's main problem at the end of the day is a complete lack of heart. There's no defining moment, no memorable villains or characters, and no truly "new" items that make their mark on the series. It's certainly playable in every sense of the word, but I didn't feel the magic I had felt so many times before.

In fact, the only real legacy it leaves behind beyond being a serviceable Zelda game is its welcome streamlining, which I hope is carried over to future iterations. It's a great way to return to the world of Link to the Past, but outside of some welcome streamlining, it doesn't surpass it, or even meet it.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Read the full The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds review

Risk of Rain (PC)
Developer: Hopoo Games
Publisher: Chucklefish Games
Release: November 8, 2013
MSRP: $9.99
Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit

All things considered, Risk of Rain is a lot of fun. Though it is held back by its technical faults (which can be reasonably expected from a project created by two students), it has the right stuff to elicit the "just one more run" response that roguelike games are known for. With a little more polish, it could be truly great, but as it is now, it's still totally worth checking out.

Verdict: 7/10

Read the full Risk of Rain review

Contrast (PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox 360)
Developer: Compulsion Games
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: November 14, 2013
MSRP: $14.99 (Free on PlayStation Plus)

There really isn't a whole lot to Contrast throughout its roughly three hour tale. It's a perfect game to pick up on PlayStation Plus for free, but if you're a non-subscriber or you're musing on another platform, I'd wait for a sale. It does a nice job of weaving a sweet little tale of a young girl and her struggle to maintain her innocence in a (literal and figurative) dark and dreary world, but it's nothing special, and nothing you haven't really seen before.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Read the full Contrast review

Wesley Ruscher, Former Contributor
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